image002Russian President Vladimir Putin said today that he is not planning to annex Crimea, even though he calls last week’s overthrow of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych an illegal “coup.” Yes, Russian troops are in Crimea, but no shots have been fired and they’re only there to protect the residents, he said. And the massing of Russian troops? Merely exercises planned months ago that are now over, Putin said. You can watch his statement, with English translation, here. The Russian leader had plenty of criticism for the new leaders of Ukraine, and the West, and the crisis in Ukraine appears far from over. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Kiev today with promises of aid. MORE